The U Shows its Pride with Week-Long Celebration


(File Photo of The Daily Utah Chronicle)

(File Photo of The Daily Utah Chronicle)
(File Photo of The Daily Utah Chronicle)

The U’s Pride Week began Thursday with its 14th annual Gay-la and Silent Auction and will culminate with a celebration of “National Coming Out Day” on Oct. 11.
Nathan Begaye, a senior in health promotion and education, helped planned the week’s festivities as the student co-chair for the U’s Pride Planning Committee.
“The point of pride is to create awareness on campus about queer identity and a sense of community for queer students,” Begaye said. “I think the amount of support we have on campus is amazing. I don’t think it’s fully to where it could be, but I think the U really does make an effort to be inclusive with Pride Week.”
There will be daily events sponsored by the LGBT Resource Center and other student groups, such as Queer Students of Color and students in the department of gender studies. Students can participate in “Family Fun Night” in the Union on Oct. 6 and the Pride Week Film Festival on Oct. 7 at the Marriott Library.
One of the most anticipated events of the week is Laverne Cox’s keynote speech on Oct. 10 in the Union Ballroom. Cox is known for her role on the television series “Orange is the New Black.” The Pride Planning Committee reached out to Cox earlier this year because they thought she was a good representative of the week’s focus on inclusiveness.
“To me, she encompasses some of what’s always been present in the queer community,” Begaye said. “Her voice and her message means so much to the queer community, especially to people of color.”
Tickets to attend Cox’s speech sold out quickly. Brennan Jones, a senior in sociology and gender studies and a scholarship recipient from the LGBT Resource Center, attended the annual Gay-la and Silent Auction but wasn’t able to secure tickets to Cox’s talk.
“I’m hoping that somebody can record that or maybe it will be posted, but I’m super psyched she’s going to be here,” Jones said. “It’s a nice way to kick off October, in my mind, and it’s a nice way to remind those of us who are not always thinking about it that this kind of gender and sexuality diversity exists on campus.”
This year’s Pride Week is themed “Imagine U: Beyond Marriage.” Begaye said they were hesitant to put a theme on this year’s Pride Week but felt they needed to in order to broaden perception of queer issues.
“Marriage equality is the dominant queer issue in Utah,” Begaye said. “And not that marriage equality is unimportant, but there are just as many important issues outside of marriage we wanted to focus on.”
Begaye said if students are looking to get involved this year, the fliers posted around campus are a great way to start. For more information, there will be volunteers at every event.
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